Monday, April 30, 2012

May Block Tutorial - Raw Edge Circles

Greetings!  I cannot believe it is May already! Bring on the May flowers :)

I have always been drawn to circles and came across this tutorial  from Cluck Cluck SEW blog. Why circles? For me, circles represent life cycles, the earth, hugs, tree rings, eggs, a pregnant belly, campfires, swirls and flowers. One of my all time favourite songs about circles is the Circle Game by Joni Mitchell. Have a listen while you read the rest of this tutorial :) Why raw edge? I love the freedom this represents and how it seems to bend the rules of traditional quilting.

Colour choice - I would like to make a "rainbow" quilt of sorts with a grey background.  I am hoping to receive circles that cover the full spectrum of the rainbow.  For your block (or should I say 4 blocks), use 4 different, predominately grey, fabrics for the squares and 4 fabrics of ONE colour (either all red, orange, green, blue, purple/pink) for the circles. I do not have a finished quilt to show you but I found some beautiful finished quilts here and here and here.

Just to show you my thinking process :)
Here is a tutorial for you to follow (if you want) - it might be too wordy or too detailed, but I was not sure where to stop and start so... I just included it all. This is my first attempt at a tutorial of any kind. I had fun putting it together.

1. Trace and cut 4 circles (19cmx19cm). I will send you a PDF file to print off via email. I used a disappearing fabric marker to do this.

2. Cut gray squares. Cut squares 13 1/2 by 13 1/2 inches.  Two of the gray fabrics I used were cut from mens dress shirts that I found at a local thrift store. Just an idea :)

3. Iron the circles and squares into 4's, to find the centre. Press. 

4. Pin centre of circle to centre of square. Then, pin each side where the lines meet. I also used some fabric glue, to help hold the fabric steady (optional). 

5. Sew circle onto square. Go slow and smooth out fabric as you sew, making sure your creases match.  Use aprox. 1/8th of an inch seam allowance (just eye it up!).  I used yellow/mustard thread. You can use white or match some thread to your fabric, either is just fine with me. 

6. Press and cut. Press fabric gently but keep the pressed lines visible in order to know where to cut. Lay your ruler on the pressed line and cut.  

7. Remove the grey fabric from behind the circle (less bulk for when it will be quilted). I used pinking sheers but regular scissors are fine too. 

PS - DO NOT cut the coloured fabric like I did :) Honestly! 

8. Stack your squares.

9. Sew blocks together using 1/4 inch seam allowance. I started at the centre of the circle and worked out, pinning the two squares where the edges of the circles meet. Then ironed the seams in opposite directions so that the points would technically meet :). Finally, I pinned the centres of the circles together, then the edges of the circles.


10. Admire your creative piece of work :) Do not sew the four blocks together. I want to "scatter" them around when I arrange the blocks for the finished quilt. Could you also send me a 3X3 inch block of each of your fabrics?  I might use them to do something funky with the final project. I was thinking I might sew small circles in the centre of each circle or join the corners of each block with a coloured circle. See my thinking below :) Hmmmm. Hope you enjoy sewing this. Let me know if you have any questions. Happy May. Shauna :)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Finished Blocks!!!

Here is my son with my finished Flying Geese Blocks for Meg. He Is pointing out the bike fabric, one of his favourites (and mine too). Yes, he is in his PJ's. One of his favourite things to wear. I promise this was finished some time ago! Finally posting it today :)  While doing this block, I often heard the Canada geese flying over our house, as they returned from their trip south.  As I was taking this photo, I could hear them honking on the river behind our house. I loved having an excuse to purchase some new black and white fabric for this block. I bought my fabric from a quaint little quilt shop in Shakespeare . Hope you enjoy these, Meg. It was a pleasure to make them for you.
Here is my daughter posing with the many pieces of fabric for Amy's April block.  We had fun arranging them together on the floor. She helped me arrange, pin into chunks and number with tape. I returned to this photo often while sewing the pieces together to check our arrangement. Working with bits of "new to me fabric" from our local fabric swap gathering was like a breath of fresh air. Thanks to Katy, Amy, Genevieve, Micaela and my good friend and neighbour Pat for sharing your fabrics!

And here it is!!!! Wow. I felt so very proud of myself after finishing this block. I did a little happy dance through the house to show it off to my family. I have never attempted something this tricky. I really tried my best to cut, sew, and match points as accurately as possible. My finished block is just under 17X17. Hopefully you can do something with it. I am really looking forward to the finished quilt. After seeing all the finished blocks thus far, I think it will be stunning! Happy Sunday :) Shauna

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chris' block for Amy

Wow, what a sense of achievement! It's not perfect but I'm very happy with how it came together. I hope you'll be happy with it Amy :) I enjoyed choosing the fabrics although in the end I think the bold purple is probably too strong compared to the other colours. Note to self - add to my limited purple stash. Thanks to everyone's posts. I gain a lot from reading your thoughts and tips, and of course viewing your lovely work.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sewing Saturday!

Jennifer's Block for Amy

Today I had planned to get Amy's block completed plus work on various other quilting projects. I got started on Amy's block and had so much fun experimenting that it was all I worked on all day and into the evening after dinner! As I mentioned in a blog comment last week, my mom had cut all the pieces I needed for the April project. Once I got started though I realized I wanted to use a bigger variety of fabrics. I got out my box of scraps and I made quite a fun mess!

The final piece...I really love the way it turned out. I truly understand the concept of the quilting bee now...I would never want to have to make 12 of these! Amy, it is going to be such a beautiful quilt, I can't wait to see it finished!

For those of you who have not started yet, there were a couple of things that I thought of that might help you too, if you are new to this like I am...Amy suggested using the template and also a ruler to cut the triangles (fabric, template, ruler). This worked very well for me because otherwise it was easy to cut into the plastic template. The other tip I have is to lightly tape down the template on the fabric before cutting, mine kept slipping otherwise. Good lighting was also important.

And finally, I just wanted to share a new quilt that my mom brought over to me. She made it from fabrics that she bought in Colorado 20 years ago! 

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! This first week back at school after the Easter break was non-stop busy and a bit stressful. I am so glad I have quilting to completely change things around during the weekends!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Linsay's block for Amy.

Here is Flora, my younger daughter, modelling Amy's block.  I loved making this block and the rainbow arrangement of colours makes everyone's blocks look very cheerful.  It is going to be an uplifting quilt.  I'm going to put it in the post this morning so you should get it in about a week Amy.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Meg's Block for Amy

Hi Everybody -- First of all, I think I've received all of my Flying Geese and thank you all so much!  The different fabrics, sizes and configurations will all make for a really fabulous and unique quilt.  I won't have time to put it together until later this summer, but I promise photos as soon as I start the design process.

I had a lot of fun working on Amy's block this week.  It's technically challenging, but I like that kind of project.  I've never pressed the seams open for any quilt;  initially, I was skeptical but I found that it helped a lot in avoiding twisted seam allowances.  Fabric selection was the most fun part for me.  I have a plastic storage box the size of a large trunk with tiny bits of every quilt I've ever worked on and it was a blast, looking at fabric that I haven't seen for many years.  Amy, each bit in this block originated in another one of my quilts, so every piece is special (well, at least to me!).  You will notice just a few bits of the oh-so-lovely 'red squares' from my son's quilt that I finished just last week.

Can't wait to see how it all comes together in the end!  xo Meg

Monday, April 9, 2012

Amy's square for Amy

Here is this month's square for Amy. Wow, it was tough! I tried my hardest to make my seams match up, and they did, most of the time... Whew! I love how the colors came together. I wasn't really sure how to arrange them, and ended up just finding combinations that worked for each individual pyramid. I think by doing that, they each have their own volume and tone. I like the end product, and hope you do too, Amy!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Katy's Block for Amy

It is a four-day weekend here, so I took advantage of the time and feeding off the energy of Wednesday night's local stash sharing, and made up your block, Amy....I will put it in the mail Tuesday.

It is by far the hardest block I've ever made.

I tried to be as precise as possible...all of those tiny little seams to match up made me re-do my seams a few times. Ach!!

I loved picking the fabric out and found it a challenge to choose the colours and patterns so that the size of pattern and colour matched well in the original pyramids, and then noticed how different everything looked once it was cut and sewn together as triangles.

I love the end-product. I love the rainbow effect, and looking at the circles, picking out different fabrics and remembering the stories that came with them. The vintage pieces from Micaela, the orange pieces from Genevieve, the green patterned pieces from Shauna or purple pieces from Shauna's quilting friend Pat, and the larger patterned solids that are quintessentially Amy...each fabric represents personality. I remember buying the brown and tiny flower print from Len's Mills years ago when I first started sewing again, and the splashes of AnnaMariaHorner, who still remains one of my favourite designers.

I think the making of this block has made me a better sewer... I checked my 1/4" seam allowance a few times to make sure I was doing it correctly, because I was really worried about how the block edges would line up. I mostly met the mark...

 I found a great tutorial for beginner quilters to calibrate their sewing machines for a 1/4".

My final block didn't measure 17.25" by 17.25", but it's almost 17"x17". I hope you can do something with it, Amy!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Waterloo Meeting April

The Waterloo faction of the International Stashes met up for the April block. We convened at Amy's house, and all brought our stashes with us to share. Michaela brought her gorgeous new son, Garner, and he helped with our color combinations. He was very opinionated. We talked a lot about the special scraps we had in our stashes, and the history behind them. Shauna brought a beautiful quilt top that her grandma has acquired, and then passed onto Shauna. It was funny how current it looked, even though it must have been several decades old. Shauna commented that when she first got it (twenty years ago), it seemed dated. Funny how trends come and go! Even though we all took scraps from the same combined stash, it will be interesting to see how they come together individually!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

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